CAPITOL HILL, DC (WUSA9) -- At the Super Bowl this year, police rescued 16 children from pimps allegedly prostituting them in hotels near the stadium.
D.C. police found one of their own allegedly marketing children for sex in his own apartment.
Now Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va) is pushing a crackdown on the child sex trade at a hearing on Capitol Hill Wednesday.
The stories are almost too-heart rending to tell. "I didn't know about sex trafficking until I was in the middle of it," says Brianna, an honor roll student and cheerleader, recruited into prostitution at a small town café, and stars in the video "Chosen," by Shared Hope, International. "One guy offered me $1000 an hour," Brianna says in the video. "I couldn't believe it."
Stephanie Vu, testified that a man she thought was her "boyfriend," pushed her into prostitution at the age of 13. "There were three men that night, and at the end of it, I couldn't stop vomiting," Vu told the the House subcommittee.
Wolf says children are being sold for sex at hotels across Northern Virginia, in Sterling, in Ashburn, and Herndon. And they're often advertised on websites like Backpage.com. "I can't believe, I mean, I don't know the people at Backpage, but they must have a hard time sleeping," Wolf said.
Cindy McCain, the wife of Sen. John McCain (R-Va) testified about a bill to allow prosecutors to charge child sex traffickers with racketeering in Arizona, the site of next year's Super Bowl. "You and the Senator have these beautiful kids," I said to her. "Yes we do." "And you worry about them even?" "Yes we do."
Child sex trafficking may be among the most under reported crimes. Police suspect they're just hearing about one percent of all the cases."I can tell you, our case load is overwhelming right now," says Detective William Woolf, Jr., who works for Fairfax County Police and the Northern Virginia Human Sex Trafficking Task Force. "The average age of induction into commercial sex in the US is 13 years old." "13? These are little kids?" "Yes sir."
America is failing to protect them.
Rep. Wolf just helped pass a bill that pushes the Justice Department to target websites like Backpage that facilitate sex trafficking. He's urging however an even more aggressive crackdown before he retires after the next election.